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Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

The African American Research Library and Cultural Center, the Old Dillard Museum and the Ashanti Cultural Arts - which showcases dance, music, theater and drumming - are three notable local Black heritage attractions.

In the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, you'll find the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Discovery & Science, the Florida Grand Opera, Historic Second Street, the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and the historic Stanahan House.

Favorite shopping haunts include Las Olas Boulevard, Sawgrass Mills Mall, the Swap Shop flea marketand the Galleria. Other things to do and places to see include water taxi tours along the Intracoastal Waterway and Millionaire's Row, gaming at several area casinos, visits to the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, Annie Kolb Nature Center and Young at Art Children's Museum; watching the Baltimore Orioles in spring training at Fort Lauderdale Stadium; golfing at one of more than 40 area courses; and excursions to explore the Florida Everglades and view the Seminole heritage exhibits at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.

JACKSONVILLE

Jacksonville's most spacious setting for meetings is Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, which contains 160,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a room named in honor of civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph. There are more than 1,000 hotel rooms within a mile of the convention center.

A Black heritage tour of Jacksonville might feature a choice of sites like Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority House; James T. Small Ball Park, where Hank Aaron played as a member of the Minor League Jacksonville Braves; Edward Waters College, whose Centennial Hall houses the Obi Scott Umanna African Art Collection; marker at the birthplace of poet and lyricist James Weldon Johnson; the Clara White Mission, now a Black history museum and homeless shelter; the La Villa Museum; and the Ritz Theatre, which showcased jazz and blues acts in the 1960s. The Olustee Battlefield Monument is located at site where the all-Black Massachusetts 54th regiment fought for the Union in the Civil War.

Other local visitor attractions include the Jacksonville Maritime Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville Landing, and tours of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and Chocalatier Production Center.

KISSIMMEE

The grandest gathering spot for meetings in Kissimmee is the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, boasting more than 400,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space and 1,406 guestrooms. Like a number of other Florida meeting facilities, the Gaylord Palms has recently taken several steps to go green.

Another major venue is the 89,500-sq. ft. Exhibition Building at Osceola Heritage Park, while the Kissimmee Museum, in the 10,500-ft. hangar at Kissimmee Gateway Airport, offers a unique space for offsite events.

With 45,000 area guestrooms, this Central Florida destination is known for offering affordable lodging accommodations for visitors to the neighboring Disney World resorts and other popular theme parks, but it also has an extensive list of its own attractions.

Local points of interest include Old Town, Fun Spot USA, Gatorland, the Osceola Center for the Arts, the Osceola County Historical Society and Pioneer Museum, the Medieval Life Village, Lakefront Park, the Monument of States - made up of stones from all 50 states and several foreign countries - and the Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park, which hosts a rodeo and other live entertainment. If you're looking for still more do, there's golfing at 15 area courses, airboat rides on Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho for short) fishing, spring training for the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium, and the monthly art show and concert in Toho Square. Of course, there are plenty of local shopping options too, from the downtown areas of Kissimmee and St. Cloud to the Florida Mall, Festival Bay, the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores and the 400,000-sq. ft. retail center known as The Loop.

A new development in the works is Shingle Creek Regional Park. Constructed in stages over the next five years, the park will include an urban wildlife refuge, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and other recreational amenities.

GREATER MIAMI

With an architectural design that blends in well with its neighbors in the historic Art Deco District, the Miami Beach Convention Center offers more than 500,000 sq. ft. of divisible exhibit space in a prime location near the beach. The area's other major meeting venue, the Miami Convention Center, offers 34 meeting rooms and a capacity for groups of up to 5,000. There are nearly 50,000 hotel rooms in the Greater Miami area.

Several attractions and special events highlight African-American culture in all of its diversity: from Little Haiti and Coconut Grove, where the Miami-Bahamas Goombay Festival is held each June, to the historic landmarks in Overtown and Liberty City. A tour of Overtown might include stops at the Lyric Theater, the Chapman House and the D.A. Dorsey House, home of the city's first Black millionaire. In Liberty City, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center hosts the annual Kwanzaa Kuumba Art Fest. Virginia Beach Park, once known as Miami's "colored beach," re-opened in February 2008. The park is accessible only by boat from a dock on the Miami River.

Other cultural and sightseeing attractions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Miami Seaquarium, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden and Biscayne Bay.


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